Book Haul & Reading Update – November 2019

Good news guys, I have actually finished some books this month!

I know, I am just as shocked as you are. I actually managed to read (well, finish) some books in November, and they are all ones I actually enjoyed as well. And another really fun thing, this month was the first time in a while that I bought some books! Whoa! I am still on my book buying ban, don’t get me wrong, but it was one of the exceptions I set for myself as I went to Bookstor in The Hague with a friend. I told myself I was allowed to buy books when I was there, so I did and I am freaking ecstatic about it.

What I read

Classic Ghost Stories

The whole face. dim at first, gradually focused itself into the clear outline: it was pale and rather lean, the fave of a young man. And then the lower lip dropped a little, showing the glint of teeth, and there was the sound of speech. ‘I shall soon come for you now,’ it said, and on the words it drew a little nearer to her, and the smile broadened. At that the full hot blast of the nightmare poured in upon her…

It took me a little while, but I finished Classic Ghost Stories this month. I enjoyed most of the stories, but some of them not so much. I feel like the Dickens story and also Hearn weren’t really for me, and the Henry James story confirmed for me that I’ll probably just never get on with his writing style. The M.R. James story I had already read, but I loved it non the less, and also the Doyle one I adored! And there were so many others that I had never read anything from that I now want to check out. I thought for example that I wouldn’t like O. Henry, but in the end his story pleasantly surprised me. Something I loved about the book are are little biographies from each author at the beginning of the story, as well as the little illustrations. There weren’t really any stories that kept me up at night, but definitely creepy and enjoyable. I ended up giving it 4 stars.

A Short History Of Drunkenness – Mark Forsyth

Almost every culture on earth has drink, and where there’s drink there’s drunkenness. But in every age and in every place drunkenness is a little bit different. It can be religious, it can be sexual, it can be the duty of kings or the relief of peasants. It an be an offering to the ancestors, or a way of marking the end of a day’s work. It can send you to sleep, or send you into battle. Marvel at how Greeks got giddy and Romans got wrecked, and find out how bars in the Wild West were never quite like in the movies.
A Short History Of Drunkenness traces humankind’s love affair with booze from our primate ancestors through to Prohibition, answering every possible question along the way: What did people drink? How much? Who did the drinking? Or the many possible reasons, why?
A history of the world at its inebriated best.

I thoroughly enjoyed A Short History Of Drunkenness. It made me smile, it made me laugh out loud, and it made me want to read sentences to G because I though they were funny, interesting, or both. Mostly both. It annoyed him greatly.
I have recommended this book to multiple people in my life before even getting halfway through because I was enjoying it so much, the hilarious writing style and interesting facts have really stuck by me. I mean, I have never done any research on drunkenness, but I take it that Forsyth has and that this is pretty accurate information. I learned a bit about different cultures, and about history in general, and I loved it all. It was a fun, entertaining and quick read, and I gave it 4 stars.

What I bought

I could not go to Bookstor and not pick up a few of the Penguin Little Black Classics. I mean, I freaking love those little booklets, they are so fun to read and to display on your bookshelves, and they are also a great way to discover what writer you do and do not like. I picked up 4 this time, and in total it cost me €10. I’d stay that’s a steal.

Mrs Rosie And The Priest – Giovanni Boccaccio

Bawdy tales of pimps, cuckolds, lovers and clever women from the fourteenth-century Florentine masterpiece The Decameron.

I have already read the first story in this one, and from that I can tell that I will probably love it. It has 3 stories in total (I think) and is set in Italy, which is a nice change of scenery to my typical British reads. The first story was pretty funny and I feel a little absurd, and it was surprisingly easy to read. I’m hoping that the other stories are like that as well.

Stancliffe’s Hotel – Charlotte Brontë

These witty, racy vignettes set in Charlotte Brontë’s imaginary kingdom of Angria feature rakish dandies, high-society courtesans and the dashing hero Zamorna.

From Italy to Britain, with a classic. I have never read any books by the Brontë sisters, so I am excited to start my journey with this little one. I honestly don’t really know anything about this book other than what I’ve read on the back, but imaginary kingdoms and dashing heroes always sound fun!

The Madness of Cambyses – Herodotus

Weaving factual account with colourful myth, the ‘father of history’ tells of the psychotic Persian kind – and his fateful death.

Another one that I don’t really know anything about, but just sounded fun. I mean, psychotic kind? Death? Yes, please! I have a feeling that this is going to be very different from what I normally read, as Herodotus was an Ancient Greek guy who lived about 2400 years ago (according to Google). It also sounds like this story is based on actual history but is mixed with fiction (or am I not allowed to call myths that?), and that just sounds really interesting to me.

Flush – Virginia Woolf

This playful, witty biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s pet spaniel – involving Italian travels and kidnappings – asks what it is to be a dog, and a human.

This is a biography about a dog. Does that not sound like on of the best things on earth? That is honestly what made me want it, it is about a spaniel, and I love spaniels. I think that the Italian travels and the kidnappings sound pretty fun too, but I mainly picked it up because it’s about a dog. I have also never read anything from Virginia Woolf in my life, so I’m interested to see how I get on with her writing.

The Idiot Brain – Dean Burnett

Motion sickness. Nightmares. Forgetting people’s names. Why did I walk into this room?
For something supposedly so brilliant and evolutionarily advanced, the human brain is pretty messy, fallible and disorganised. In The Idiot Brain neuroscientist Dean Burnett celebrates the imperfections of the human brain in all their glory, and the impact of these quirks on our daily lives. Expertly researched and entertainingly written, this book is for anyone who has wondered why their brain seems to be sabotaging their life, and what on earth it is really up to.

And last but not least, a funny non-fiction book about brains. Brains? Yes, brains. I was enjoying A Short History so much that I wanted to pick up more books like it, so when I saw this in Bookstor and read the back, I knew this was it. It sounds very interesting but, like A Short History, also absolutely hilarious and right up my street. I am a few pages in already and so far it is living up to my expectations, and I can’t wait to read the rest. Burnett also has another book called The Happy Brain which is basically all about happiness, and I already know that I will want to read that too after finishing this one.

And those are all the books I read and bought this month. No disappointing reads thank god, and so far the books I picked up and tried already seem good as well. I have, by the way, by finishing these two books, also reached my reading goal of 20 books in 2019, so yay that! I am hoping to finish at least 3 more in December though, and preferably even 5, but I’m not putting too much pressure on myself to actually do that. Reading should be a relaxing enjoyable experience, not a race.

Thanks for stopping by ❤